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may we expect evil to be present with us, through previously existed. The understanding is not the hindrance of satan. Let us be vigilant. formed, but it is enlightened; the will is not called “What I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.' into being, but it is subdued; the passions are Let us be prayerful. "Pray without ceasing.' not originated, but they are engaged with right Be vigilant, be sober, because your adversary objects; the affections are not produced, but they the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking are occupied aright. The renewal of a right whom he may devour.' Let us seek to grow in spirit. The disposition must be changed. As grace, “bringing into captivity every thought to the it was before averse to God, it must be brought obedience of Christ.' And let us in faith, and to acquiesce in his will, and delight in his ways. hope, and patience, and purity, wait for the time And the law to which before it refused subjecwhen we shall lay down this body of sin and tion, must now be approved as holy, and just, death, be delivered from temptation, see Christ and good, and cheerfully chosen as the unvaryas he is, and be satisfied with his likeness. ing standard and rule. This was what David
here so earnestly desired—the creation of a new heart, the renewal of a right spirit. He varies
his language, more perhaps to express the fullness FOURTH DAY.—EVENING. and fervour of his heart, than to give any
views of the object which he sought. Still, the • Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renero variety of his language is not without its meana right spirit within me,' Psal. li. 10.
ing, and this much at least may we gather from What earnestness is here! How it reproves the it, that the change which he desired was thorough, indifference with which we too often call upon radical, and universal. God. There is no studied form of expression,
From whom did he seek it? From God alone, but the very reiteration of thought and variation for he alone was able to bestow it.
The scripof language which might be expected when the tures are pointedly full in representing the new heart is poured out. Let us consider what is birth to be a divine work. The language of the sought, and from whom, and by whom it is evangelist John is plain and instructive, saying, sought.
* As many as received him, to them gave he power What is sought? The creation of a new heart, to become the sons of God, even to them that the renewal of a right spirit. All the terms believe on his name, which were born, not of employed are strongly expressive of the change blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will that was desired. A creation. To create is to of man, but of God. The new birth is not of call into being that which before did not exist. blood-by no connection of the child with the And the work of the Spirit, in restoring the sin- parent, however godly that parent may be. Nor ner to holiness, produces a change as great as is it of the will of the flesh-arising from no dewhen he first called him into existence. The figure sire, nor effected by any power inherent in human of a new or second birth is therefore habitually nature. Nor yet of the will of man-produced used to illustrate this operation of divine grace. by no influence which one man can exercise over The creation of a new heart. This is the seat of another, however that may be the instrument in life, and therefore must it be sound if the func- the change. But of God—by the operation of tions of the body shall be properly discharged. the Holy Spirit on the mind, according to his The heart is the fountain, and it is only by its own pleasure, and by the exercise of his own purification the streams which issue from it can power. The description of the apostle Paul is be made pure. Christ has said, “Out of the drawn from the work of the Spirit in creation, heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, and is as follows, God who commanded the fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies-light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our the things which defile a man.' If such defile-hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the ment would be avoided, the heart must be created glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus.' The
A renewal. This supposes the previous same power that was necessary to reduce to order existence of powers, but that they require to be the rude chaos at the first creation, is no less restored to their right condition and exercise. necessary to the creation of a new heart, and the And when this term is connected with the for- renewal of a right spirit now. And it is needful mer, a creation, we have a just idea of the work to keep this truth in mind, not merely because it of regeneration. It is a change as great as in a is only thus the blessing can be obtained, but to new creation, yet it is not the production of any expect to obtain it otherwise discovers a defecnew powers, but a change upon those faculties that I tive apprehension of the nature of the work, boguiles the soul into self-deception, and must
FIFTH DAY.—MORNING. end in disappointment. Let us seek it where David did, from God, for there alone can it be ‘I will that they also whom thou hast given me be obtained.
with me where I am,' John xvii. 24. And was this the prayer of David? Yes, of The people of Christ are here described as “those David the man after God's own heart. How whom the Father has given to him.' Yes, they were comes this? Had he not already a new heart given to him in an everlasting covenant, ordered and a right spirit? Of this there can be no in all things and sure, before the world was. doubt, yet did such a prayer become him now. Having predestinated us unto the adoption of He is engaged in an exercise of deep humiliation children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to for gross sin. The evidence of his conversion the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the must have been greatly darkened by his offences. glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us acHe had no legitimate title to count himself a cepted in the Beloved.' How surprising! that in child of God while sunk in such grievous crimin-eternity the love of God should be placed upon ality. It is well said by Thomas Scott, “I would any of his rebellious creatures, and a sure provinot give a farthing for that assurance which sin sion made for their deliverance. In accordance does not shake.' In David it was shaken, and with this eternal covenant they are given, in anso he comes to God as though he had never been other sense, to Christ now. And to this he ala partaker of his grace, and cries to him for a ludes in the opening of his intercessory prayer. new heart and a right spirit. Or if, in exercises "Glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify of humiliation, he had been restored to a com- thee; as thou hast given him power over all flesh, fortable sense of pardon and acceptance, still would that he should give eternal life to as many as thou this prayer become him. He had sad evidence hast given him. They are given to Christ now, how little progress he had made in the divine by an act of adoption, that he may provide for life, how weak was his heart, how strong was them as his own children. The blessing he conremaining sin. He might well therefore cry out fers upon them is eternal life, not merely the fufor growth in grace, and that in the strong ture mansion, but the present possession of it. language which he did employ. For although He that believeth on the Son of God hath everthe work of regeneration be complete, yet is that lasting life.- Verily, verily, I say unto you, he of sanctification progressive; and as for the in- that heareth my word, and believeth on him that crease of holiness, we have reason daily to pray, sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come • Create a clean heart, O God; renew a right into condemnation, but is passed from death unto spirit within us.'
life.--He that hath the Son hath life.—Hear, Let us learn from this case not to rest in any and your souls shall live, and I will make an everreformation short of a thorough regeneration of lasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies the soul. Till that is effected, there is no vital of David. Thus the people of Christ have now godliness, no true religion, acceptable to God, and 'eternal life abiding in them; for as Christ himsaving to the soul.
self saith, “this is life eternal to know thee, the Let us learn how dangerous it is to have the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast evidences of our salvation darkened by sin. If sent. His people have been given into his hand, we act so, we are laying the foundation of bitter and he has removed their guilt, clothed them with exercises, and can be restored only through much his own righteousness, renewed their hearts, retribulation.
formed their ways, and he will preserve them, Let us learn to set no limits to our desires through life and in death, to the full enjoyment after conformity to God. The longer we live, of eternal life in heaven. and the more we learn of him and of ourselves, And what glorious prospects are set before of his purity and our sinfulness, so should we them there! They shall be with Christ. This seek the destruction of the old man, and the con- will constitute the height of their blessedness. firmation, and advancement, and purification of Even on earth how mighty the influence of the the new man.
little acquaintance they have already with hins on both their holiness and their happiness. These originate in their knowledge of him, and as it progresses so they advance. But faith, by which they now obtain an indistinct view of their risen Lord, shall in heaven be turned into sight. And when they see him, what effect will this produce eye
on their purity and their bliss. “Beloved, now of them is lost.' So in eternity, he will not be are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet ap- satisfied that one, whom he has redeemed, that pear what we shall be; but we know that, when one of all those who have been given to him, he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall should be wanting. How the fond father longs see him as he is. The influence even of this to see his scattered children home, and with what prospect is great, and every man that hath this delight he surveys them all safely collected behope in him purifieth himself even as he is pure.' neath the paternal roof again, after many wanderWhat then must the reality, the enjoyment, be? ings and temptations! So Jesus waits and longs Holiness and happiness mutually influence each to see his people home in heaven. His mediaother, and when there is entire conformity to torial bliss will not be complete till then. And Christ what shall be the enjoyment of him? The as he has the will, so he has the power. His prophet has drawn aside the vail and given us a is on them wherever they are, his arm is around glimpse of the heavenly glory; and it is worthy them by land and sea, his bosom heaves with love of remark that the grand enjoyment ever appears to admit them to his rest, and make them sharers to be the immediate presence of Christ. They of his glory. "I pray that they all may be one, are before the throne of God, and serve him day as thou Father art in me, and I in thee, that they and night in his temple, and he that sitteth on all may be one in us. Then shall the Saviour be the throne shall dwell among them. For the satisfied and the blessedness of his people comLamb, which is in the midst of the throne, shall pleted. feed them, and shall lead them unto living foun- Have we, by our own consent, been given unto tains of water, and God shall wipe away all tears Christ? Do we set our heart on heaven as the from their eyes.' Is not this the amount of the object and consummation of our hopes ? Shall Saviour's own consolatory promise, 'I go to pre- we behold the glory of the risen Saviour, and be pare a place for you; and if I go away, I will glorified with him for ever? O! that we may come again and receive you unto myself, that be enabled truly to say, 'our conversation is in where I am there ye may be also.' And this is heaven, from whence also we look for the Saviour, the apostle's consummation of all the blessedness the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our vile in store for his people: “the Lord himself shall body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glodescend from heaven with a shout, with the voice rious body.' of the archangel and the trump of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which remain and are alive shall be caught up unto the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the
FIFTH DAY.-EVENING. Lord. Are we prepared for the presence of Christ? How should we feel, were he at this “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the moment to manifest himself? Would we hail
Father, Jesus Christ the righteous,' i John
ii. 1. him with joy, and be ready to enter into his rest? Let us remember that, to prepare them for this So then any man may sin. Yes, all men do the people of Christ are 'given unto him.' sin. What a strange perversity it is that has
And to this glorious end they shall assuredly led some to teach there may be men free from sin. come, for this is the will of Christ. "Father, 1 It is a sad misapprehension of the scriptures, will that they whom thou hast given me be with for their testimony is so plain that he who runs me where I am, that they may behold my glory.' may read and understand. There is not a just And he shall not be disappointed. It has long man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth been promised unto him, “that he shall see of the not,' Eccl. vii. 20. “If we say that we have no sin, travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied.' And we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us, what will satisfy him? Nothing short of the 1 John i. 8. In many things we offend all,' eternal redemption of his people. See how he James iii. 2. And the very persons addressed in the was exercised when his ministry was about to passage before us are true Christians, under the terminate on earth, “I have manifested thy name designation of little children.' Let us be careful unto the men which thou gavest me out of the not to resist the testimony of the Holy Spirit in world.— I pray for them which thou hast given the scriptures, for it is very displeasing to him, me.-Holy Father, keep through thine own name and blinding and hardening to the soul. Let no those whom thou hast given me;—while I was imagination of ours, however specious and beautiwith them in the world I kept them in thy name, ful, be placed in opposition to his truth, but let those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none | every hypothesis
, and prejudice, and pre-con
ceived theory give way when it does not stand sorrow. The Christian cannot live in sin. It is the test of “thus it is written.' And is not the a burthen heavier than he can bear. And his divine testimony in exact accordance with all life is a life of controversy with it, striving against experience and observation? Who will say I sin. am innocent ? Who will lay aside the daily use Let us be careful, when at any time we have of the Lord's prayer, on the ground that the peti- sinned, not to delay exercises of humiliation. tion, 'forgive us our trespasses,' has become in- There is a reluctance then to come before God. appropriate to his case ? Or whom have we We shall be tempted to hide our sin, and there ever seen or known that we could account to be is danger of the heart being hardened. Let us faultless ? How can it be that any are so ignor- be watchful here. As soon as conscience upbraids ant of themselves as to imagine they do not sin? If us let us hear its faithful warning, and go and there be such persons, they have yet to learn the confess our sin. This will operate most favourfirst principles of the doctrine of Christ. They ably and powerfully on our sanctification. We need the Holy Spirit to convince them of sin. shall not be so likely to fall into the sin again for All who know themselves must say, 'our hearts which we have written bitter things against ourcondemn us. And if so, how must we be in the selves. Particularly should we be watchful to sight of him “who is greater than our hearts, and adopt this course with respect to our besetting knoweth all things?' The enlightened conscience sins. They are most likely to have dominion can have no peace, under a sense of the divine over us. But if we are accustomed, whenever cognizance and judgment, save in the apprehen- we have committed them, to go with lowly consion of the righteousness of Christ. The cry of fession and self-condemnation to God, we shall such a one is, 'behold, O God, our shield, and gain the dominion over them. God will bless look upon the face of thine Anointed. There the the exercises, and his grace will confirm us in soul does rest, and can bear the scrutinizing eye the habit of resistance. And this is essential of God, but there only. As for himself and his to our comfort. God has graciously so ordained attainments, the more holy he grows he becomes it that the souls of his people must bear dispeace the more humble. As he increases in knowledge while sin is allowed upon them. But when he thinks the more lowly of himself. And there they have been duly exercised for it, he graciously is nothing wonderful in hearing an apostle pro- restores them for his name's sake. And it may claim himself to be “the chief of sinners.' There even prove that where sin abounded, grace did are times when the most advanced Christians are much more abound in elevating them to higher ready to make the same complaint of themselves. joys, and confirming them in holier habits than All have sinned, and do sin, and come far short before—their very sins, wonderful to think! being of the glory of God.
made to contribute to their sanctification. But let us beware we do not abuse this hum- And O! what gracious encouragement we have bling confession. It is not made by one who de- to humble ourselves thus before God seeing 'we sires to live in sin, and uses it as an excuse. On have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the contrary, it proceeds from the hatred of sin, the righteous.' He is on the right hand of God, and the jealousy of himself as a servant of the and pleads the merit of his own work, for the Lord. He does not willingly commit sin. When remission of his people's sins. Hence the ground at any time he is overtaken by temptation, and of his advocacy is declared, “he is the propitihurried, in an evil hour, into sin, it is his burthen ation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also and grief. We see the operation of gracious for the sins of the whole world. The merit of principles in David and Peter when they were his death is infinitely efficacious. There is no drawn aside for a season. Let the humiliation sin in all the world but it is equal to remove. of the 51st Psalm be witness for the former, and At the same time he acts the part of an intercesthe flood of penitential tears for the latter. They sor, and presents our humiliations before the did sin, but they could find no pleasure in it. throne of God. These are worthless in themThey were wretched and uneasy, and found no selves; but presented by him, and perfumed with rest until they returned to God in deepest humili- the incense of his mediation, they are accepted, ation, and were restored to the enjoyment of his and we are restored and blessed. Nor does it favour. It is not the mark of a believer that he suffice to procure our pardon, he confers grace never sins, for then could no one have the con- suited to the time of need. He sends out his solation to know that he was a believer ; but it Holy Spirit in his gifts and graces. He restores is the mark of a believer that whenever he is be- the joy of his salvation, and upholds us with his trayed into sin he is overtaken also with godly free Spirit.
thing which shall be born of thee shall be called
the Son of God. We have a great High Priest, He eder lideth to make intercession for them,' Jesus the Son of God. Our intercessor is the Heb. vii. 25.
living One, and therefore competent to save. • He ever liveth!'-and is therefore competent With what confidence may we come to him! He to make intercession. He ever liveth, and can give us what we need. He can prevail with sustains an uninterrupted intercession. "He ever God for us. * As the Father hath life in himliveth,'—for the very purpose of making inter- self, so hath he given to the Son also to have life cession. Let us pursue these thoughts for a in himself. And he dispenseth it to whom he will. little.
2. In this relation he has ever stood to the 1. Because Jesus ever liveth, he is competent church of God, and sustains an uninterrupted into the office of an intercessor between God and tercession. How largely is this feature of our man. There is a great peculiarity of person Intercessor's priesthood here illustrated and ennecessary to occupy such a position. He must forced? He is described as "a priest for ever have power with God and man that he may pre- after the order of Melchizedec.' And see the vail. No sinner therefore can be a prevalent extraordinary history and position of that mysintercessor, not even a created angel, for neither terious person, that herein he might be a proper possesses any claim upon God by which he can type of our ever-living High Priest, “Without plead for the benefit of others. Behold the con- father, without mother, without descent, having stitution of the Saviour's person, and see how neither beginning of days nor end of life, but suited he is to the office. He is God, and may made like unto the Son of God, abideth a priest therefore treat with the Father; while he is man, continually. On all these points the world was and may appear for men. He who would under- left in ignorance that he might the more fitly be take the redemption of sinners must be a par- a type of him to whom eternity literally belongs. taker of their nature; but to be competent to the But not merely was the Intercessor's person work he must possess power that is divine. And eternal
, but his priesthood also. He sustained it such is Jesus. "The Redeemer of God's elect from the first in accordance with the eternal is the Lord Jesus Christ, who being the eternal covenant. And he has exercised it, and shall Son of God, became man, and so was, and con- continue to do so, while there shall be betinueth to be God and man in two distinct na- lievers to need its benefits. So early as the time tures and one person for ever.' “Great without of Job it sustained the hearts of the faithful. It controversy is the mystery of godliness, God was was in a season of darkness and temptation that, manifest in the flesh. And this is the very argu- losing sight of the great Intercessor, he exclaimed, ment of the apostle in the passage before us. He is not a man as I am that we should come
Wherefore he is able to save them to the utter- together in judgment, neither is there any daysmost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever man betwixt us that might lay his hand upon us liveth to make intercession for them. For such both. And it was the apprehension of the Median High Priest became us, who is holy, harm- ator that again filled him with peace and joy, less, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made and caused him to exclaim, 'I know that my higher than the heavens. Who needeth not Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand in the daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, latter day upon the earth; and though after my first for his own sins, and then for the people's, skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh for this he did once, when he offered up himself. shall I see God.' Afterwards, when the law For the law maketh men high priests which have was given to Israel, it was through the great infirmity, but the word of the oath, which was Intercessor, for it is written, · It was ordained since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated by angels in the hand of a Mediator.'
At length for evermore. O the depth of the riches of the he came, the substance of all the ceremonies of wisdom and knowledge of God! He saw, and the law, and declared his own doctrine, “I am he only, what was essential to the character of the way, and the truth, and the life; no man an intercessor. And, blessed be his name, he pro- cometh unto the Father but by me.' And when vided what was needed. Hence the miraculous he had finished his work, and rose triumphant, conception and birth of Jesus by the virgin Mary and was about to ascend, he did so in a way very
an, but sinless—the assumption of humanity illustrative of his intercession. He lifted up his by the Son of God. The Holy Ghost shall hands and blessed them, and while he blessed come upon thee, and the power of the Highest them, he was taken from them and carried up shall overshadow thee. Therefore also that holy into heaven.' He was afterwards revealed to the